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New Report Suggests Almost Two-Thirds of Musicians Suffer From Muscular Pain

By Sara Schabas on July 3, 2024

A new study in the Irish Medical Journal reported high levels of playing-related muscular disorders in classical musicians. The study found a need for targeted interventions for many players.

What’s the buzz: This week, a new report came out in the Irish Medical Journal (IMJ). The report looked at playing-related muscular disorders (PRMDs) in both classical and traditional Irish musicians. 120 participants were surveyed, including a large number of string players and keyboard players.

Tell me what’s happening: 61% of the classical musicians surveyed by the Irish Medical Journal reported instances of pain and other chronic symptoms of PRMDs. 83% of the string musicians who were surveyed reported PRMDs, particularly in the upper back, lower back, and right hand or wrist. PRMDs were slightly less prevalent amongst non-classical musicians.

The IMJ’s report follows the Berlin Centre for Musicians’ Medicine’s 2023 report that outlined the many medical conditions to which violinists are at risk. Luckily, many researchers are currently looking at ways for string players to protect themselves, such as through mental audition and silent practicing strategies. A good reminder for all musicians to not only practice but to practice wisely.

Sara Schabas
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